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Analysis of Stanford GSB Essay 1: What matters most to you, and why?

What matters most to you, and why? (Recommended 750 words)

The open-ended and somewhat philosophical nature of this question can make it a challenging starting point for the Stanford application. If a topic doesn’t immediately spring to mind, a constructive approach might be to think about your experiences to date (growing up, attending school, working, pursuing outside activities and general interests) and look for some unifying theme among some or all of them. Because it’s always a good idea to introduce specific details and anecdotes to really tie the general ideas expressed in your essays to the key elements of your candidacy, it would be wise to select a topic that not only gives the adcom a sense of your values and priorities, but also allows to you discuss some of the ways you have translated these into action.  Needless to say, this is one of the more challenging essays in the business school world, so feel free to reach out to Clear Admit if you seek tailored guidance vis-a-vis your candidacy.

In addition, keep in mind that the Stanford admissions team also offers the following clues for this essay:

  • The best examples of Essay 1 reflect the process of self-examination that you have undertaken to write them.
  • They give us a vivid and genuine image of who you are—and they also convey how you became the person you are.
  • They do not focus merely on what you’ve done or accomplished. Instead, they share with us the values, experiences, and lessons that have shaped your perspectives.
  • They are written from the heart and address not only a person, situation, or event, but also how that person, situation, or event has influenced your life.

To read our analysis of all of Stanford’s essay questions, click here.

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Posted in: Essay Topic Analysis

Schools: Stanford GSB

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